Seven Reasons To Circle Up For Charity Giving

Charity circles are like book clubs for philanthropy. You get together with a group of like-minded pals and channel your powers of donation into one superpowered Care Bear stare that has more impact than your piddling donations would on their own.

In her U.S. News & World Report Alpha Consumer blog, Kimberly Palmer highlights the raging trend, which has yielded as many as 800 active circles nationwide, doubling the number of circles there were in 2006.

Reason No. 1: You can do better research:

Many Hands Inc., a giving circle based in northwest Washington, DC, chooses its funding recipients based on phone interviews, site visits, and then a vote of all 100-plus members, explains board member Noni Lindahl. Over the last six years, the group has given away over $350,000 to local nonprofits that serve women and children. The money comes from each participant pledging $1,000 a year.

At the Northern Virginia-based Giving Circle of HOPE, members read books together to further educate themselves on poverty issues. After reading Three Cups of Tea, some of the members pooled their money to fund a teacher in a school in Pakistan for a year. “It’s all about education,” says the giving circle’s co-founder Linda Strup.

Check out the post for the other six. Well, OK, here’s one more: another reasons to join up is social benefit — how better to impress someone than showing how generous you are? And you’ll probably meet kinder, more generous people in charity circles than you would in Money Hoarder Hexagons.

7 Reasons to Donate Through a Giving Circle [U.S. News & World Report]
(Photo: Jason M. Childs)

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  1. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Money Hoarder Hexagons probably have better theme music.

  2. GuinevereRucker says:

    Interesting. Kinda like my church :)

    • FoxCMK says:

      @GuinevereRucker: Exactly.

      Whether it’s through one’s faith, one’s generosity, or just because one wants to feel good for helping out, private charities in this country contribute so much every year to worthy causes all around the world.

  3. Zev Mydlarz says:

    I’m thinking about this – “tzedaka circles”

  4. RandomHookup says:

    Money Hoarder Hexagon will be my new Consumerist username once I get baninated.

  5. sean98125 says:

    Can I do it like United Way and have the other people in the group give me a salary that I can skim off their donations?

  6. littlemisslondon says:

    This is a really great idea. But it’s not really all that new – Kiva.org has been doing microlending “teams” for quite a while.

    On the other hand, I think I’ll get together with some friends and do this.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @littlemisslondon: But doing it in a local group you can build up some real power — we have a local group like this (I’m not a part of it) but their donation power is so large that they constantly get invited to give input to the city and county council, local school districts, etc., because they might give a grant to something.

  7. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    CareBear Stare! Awesome.

  8. CigarMan22 says:

    They use to sell those silver cylinder things in the picture at IKEA..